Month: August 2011

Leadership Vaccum..

The current agitation has exposed the leadership vaccum that exists in our political spectrum. We were aware of the internal power struggle and the petty squabbles that now and than erupt at the BJP headquarters, and now we are aware that the situation is more or less similar at Congress too.

Jaitley’s remark that Congress depends too much on lawyers, although the same can be said about BJP, is true to some extent. Kapil Sibal has always tried to be the troubleshooter for Congress, depending upon his gift of the gab, as a lawyer.

However, Kapil somehow gives one an image of a scheming fox, wonder why no one from Congress has observed this, the feedback can be had from Civil Society and Baba Ramdev. Hence instead of helping Congress, it’s always the opposite, with the high command required to step in to douse the fires started by Sibal and gang.

Manmohan Singh’s silence is scary, it speaks volumes of the state of affairs at Congress. If a man, as educated and as experienced as him can be silenced, that what future does congress intend to shape up for India? Instead of dilly-dallying further, it’s high time that Manmohan Singh should put in his papers, and let Rahul Gandhi take the reins since every kid in India knows that is the first priority of Congress and it’s high command.

I do not see the innocence or naivety of a Rajiv in Rahul, to trust him with the high post, but I am sure that Congress is powerful enough to force the people of India to welcome him as the next PM !!.

Hence let’s get it over and done with please…


India on the streets by Chetan Bhagat

We have all had that one uncle who keeps on reminding you how India is terrible. He tells you about how every government authority takes bribes – from the RTO to the ration shop to the municipality. He will tell you how no government department does its job well – the potholed roads, abysmal conditions at government schools and poor healthcare all being examples to support your uncle’s theory. It is hard to argue with him, for he is right. Things don’t work. There is no justice. Power talks. Equality doesn’t exist. All of this, even though uncomfortable to hear, rings somewhat true.

However, the uncle goes on to say this: “Nothing will ever change.” He is convinced that our society is damaged irreparably, and India is destined to live in misery. Uncle Cynic goes on to doubt almost everyone, assumes the worst in people, and anyone who is trying to improve the country is branded as someone with a hidden agenda.

This is where i think the uncle gets it wrong, horribly wrong. For it is one thing to point out the problems, it is quite another to give up trying to fix them. Cynicism is not a counter-argument, it is an attitude. For the fact is we still have good people in the country: in society and even in government departments. It is just that they are crushed.

I don’t want to give you the reasons why you must support Anna Hazare. It is almost beneath Anna’s dignity that he actually has to beg or make a case for support when he is fighting for you, against an abusive, corrupt regime. Still, let me do a quick recap of the facts.

Anna did a fast in April, which became the nation’s movement and spread virally. Concerned, the government agreed to make a good Lokpal Bill, shook hands with the activists and in principle agreed to Anna’s version, designed to truly check corruption. Since then, the government has insulted Anna’s team, thrown away their draft, and come up with its own almost pointless draft of the Lokpal Bill.

The draft the government is presenting to Parliament will not check corruption. Only 0.5%, or one in 200 government officials are under its purview. Your corrupt ration shop, RTO, passport office, panchayats or municipal authority will not be covered. State scams will not be covered – yes, the Adarsh society scam or the Jharkhand scams are all out of its purview. The prime minister is excluded as well. Ever heard of a corruption law in a democracy that only applies to a certain section of people?

The government is throwing magic dust in your eyes – and counting on India’s illiterate and ignorant to not know the difference. However, you reading this are educated. You know when wrong is being committed. You know that while you have lived your life with corruption, you do not want your children to do the same. A bad Lokpal Bill may not affect you today – but tomorrow it will hit you when your child does not get a college seat, when your hospital gives shoddy treatment, when your government work doesn’t get done. We live in a poor country – poor not because we don’t have what it takes to be rich, but because our leaders have let us down. We have given them too much power, and they consider our vote as a mandate to steal and be incompetent. They hate accountability. However, without accountability, our progress will stall. There are countries where the average income per person is 50 times more than in India. Don’t we deserve the same?

Thus, whatever your personal view on Anna, it is not him but his cause that needs support. The government can crush a few activists. However, it cannot crush India on the streets. A peaceful, firm, decisive protest is every Indian’s birthright, and must be exercised in times of need. Come Monday, and we Indians have a job to do. We have to save our country’s future.

A word for the government too. Just what exactly are you thinking when you are trying to shove an impotent law down people’s throats? And what makes you feel that threatening, crushing or insulting Anna will take away people’s need to rid India of corruption? Anna did not create an anti-corruption sentiment, he merely tapped into it. Crushing Anna will not take away that sentiment. It will just make it fester more. Right now, the movement is still controlled. By going back on your word, displaying arrogance and not listening to the people, you are risking the country’s descent into chaos. Be careful. Accountability is much easier to deal with than anarchy. Fix the Lokpal Bill now, please.

Finally, for the people of India, it is time to prove Uncle Cynic wrong. There is a bigger truth than his ‘nothing ever changes in India’. That truth comes from the Gita, which states “Nothing is permanent”. The Gita also says, “When the pot of sin overflows, something happens to restore order.” Now, it is up to you to determine if the pot of sin has overflowed. It is for you to say what it means for Indians to act out their dharma. And you, and only you, will decide if it is time to come on the streets.

(The writer is a best-selling novelist)

Forward if you like it.

Aarakshan – Reservation – banned in UP..

..”Jaha ek chandaal neta ne Mandal ka Kafan Oudhakar karwayi masoom vidyarthi-yo ki aatm-vilopan se desh main mere bhai bolo mera bharat mahaan ??”..

When I had recited a poem, born out of anguish during the Mandal Commission episode, to a ex-Samajwadi leader, he explained to me in depth the situation that exists in rural India. In principle, he was all for Merit based selection, but the political machinations, prevalent in the north, read UP/Bihar, as per him made it – Aarakshan – necessary. A stand which urban youth, is not able to understand and never will unless exposed to the trauma of being a lower caste individual in the villages of north.

As Saif, ironically of royal nawaabi lineage, who plays a dalit in the film, put it that today too dalit students are expected to clean toilets of the schools they attend, and unless you see it for yourself, you will not believe it.

The ban exposes the intention of the political system in place, which like an ostrich, wants to bury its head in the sand, and hope that the problem will magically vanish.

V.P.Singh who became the prime minister riding high on the bofors wave, but was unable to provide a economically stable governance, divided the nation further in a single stroke by insisting to implement the Mandal Commission report.

Riots erupted everywhere, but this was one issue on which the nation’s youth was united, India needed a class based reservation and not a caste based reservation. Give priority to financially backward students/people irrespective of their caste, it did not make sense to provide scholarships/quota for a SC/ST who travelled in a Mercedes/BMW !!!

I feel the film medium is the best bet for initiating a debate nationwide, and to spread awareness of the pros-cons of Aarakshan, and among the current crop of filmmakers, it is Jha who can perhaps provide a better insight into the background of the reservation system.

Using a megastar’s presence, can perhaps further the cause of implementing a merit based education system in India. But knowing the culture of our dear politicians, this may remain a distant dream !!!

KIVA Terminus…Hinjewadi, Pune.

At last a excellent place to hangout with friends, near to Hinjewadi and near to my residence too. The ambience is just too good, no parking issues, ample of space with security.
The DJ looked young, but displayed excellent choice, Retro – so but naturally loved it !!.
The food is good, service could be little better.
Also checked with the manager, for Rs.450/- a head, one could host a buffet with 3 Veg/Non-Veg dish, 2-3 starters, Soup, 1-2 Desserts etc. Considering the experience, I think that’s a steal.
Enjoy while it lasts, as I do not think the rates would remain the same for long !!!.